Conductor and mezzo-soprano Jutta Seppinen was seven when she began taking violin lessons at the West Helsinki Music Institute, but her main instrument later changed via the piano to voice. At the Sibelius Academy she continued her vocational studies in voice, choral conducting and music theory, gained her diploma in singing with distinction and in 2008 completed a Master’s degree in music.
Since autumn 2011, Jutta Seppinen has been studying orchestral conducting in the classes of Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila at the Sibelius Academy. Other teachers have included Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, Jorma Panula, Mikko Franck, John Storgårds and Herbert Blomstedt. She spent spring 2013 studying orchestral conducting with Ulrich Windfur at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig. In masterclasses she has conducted many Finnish orchestras, among them the Joensuu City Orchestra, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and the Tapiola Sinfonietta. In autumn 2016, she will conduct her diploma concert with the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra at the Helsinki Music Centre.
In autumn 2013, Jutta Seppinen conducted the “Kuule, minä sävellän” (Hear this, I’m a composer) concert project – a joint production by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish National Opera. The following summer she made her debut as an opera conductor at the Kokkola Summer Opera Festival, where she also acted as assistant to Sakari Oramo. That same year she made a second opera debut, this time in the Sibelius Academy’s production of Così fan tutte, and was selected for the Finnish National Opera’s Kapuapu conductor programme. Her next debut, in autumn 2014, was with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and in spring 2015 she conducted the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra for the first time (in Bach’s B-minor Mass). Future projects include a concert with the Wegelius Chamber Strings in autumn 2015 and Stravinsky’s Mavra and The Soldier’s Tale at the Helsinki Music Centre in January 2016. For most of 2015 she will be on maternity leave.
Before getting launched on her conducting career, Jutta Seppinen had already made a name for herself as a choir leader renowned for her innovative repertoire and her break with the traditional concert format. She has collaborated with many choirs, among them the world-famous Thomanerchor Leipzig, and been the choir leader for concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and others. Her concerts have taken her to many countries in Europe, the United States and Argentina.
Since 2009, Jutta Seppinen has been Artistic Director of the Akademiska damkören Lyran university choir. She reaped success in the Choral Espoo competition for choral conductors in 2002 and in the Eric Ericson Award choral conducting competition in Stockholm in 2006. She often commissions new Finnish music. Next in line is a large work for female choir by Minna Leinonen scheduled for spring 2016, to be visualised by Heta Kuchka.
As a singer, Jutta Seppinen (mezzo-soprano) has focused particularly on the performance of Baroque and modern repertoire, gaining attention for her bold renderings. She has appeared at music festivals and taken part in concert and opera productions both in Finland and abroad. Her major operatic roles have included the soprano in Perttu Haapanen’s opera Solity:d, and the critically-acclaimed monologue opera Ihmissydän (The Human Heart) by Heinz-Juhani Hofmann was composed specifically for her.
Jutta Seppinen has premiered many works composed especially for her and has worked with many composers and ensembles. In 2012 she sang the alto solos in the St. Matthew Passion with the Opus-X Baroque orchestra, and in spring 2013 she was the soloist with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berio’s Sinfonia. For the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) she has recorded works by Heinz-Juhani Hofmann, Veli-Matti Puumala, Maija Hynninen, Sebastian Hilli, Matthew Whittall and others. She may sometimes be spotted in the ranks of the Helsinki Chamber Choir, most recently when the choir recorded a disc of music by Beat Furrer in autumn 2014.
“Mezzo-soprano Jutta Seppinen does it all, in a way that is unbelievably fantastic: an hour of verbal acrobatics, acting, quick mood shifts. Even in one and the same phrase she coddles, smothers, lures and accuses.” (Heinz-Juhani Hofmann, the monologue opera Ihmissydän at the Sello Hall, 10.9.2011)
Helsingin Sanomat, Annmari Salmela